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Should Your Child Have a Social Media Presence?

Should They Be Aware of Yours?
14 Feb 2016 – 09:18 AM EST

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When is the right time? Which outlets are child-friendly? Should your children be exposed to your own social media presence? Should they have their own? Is this kind of exposure dangerous?

No doubt you have questions; or, maybe you've already made up your mind about your child's future social media involvement. Either way, here is what the experts are saying about your kids and their access to social media.

You Make the Rules
You choose which outlets are suitable. You choose how often they have access and most importantly, you choose what and how they share. The American Academy of Paediatrics states that there should be rules beyond " Turn it Off". Media is just another environment: Children do the same things they have always done, only virtually. Like any environment media can have positive and negative affects. By making the rules, and sticking to them, you are helping your children use social media safely, and responsibly.

Know Your Options
Time offers a lost of suitable social media outlets for children under 13. Don't take their word for it, though. Always check out these things for yourself. For some children, Instagram might be perfect, while others might find playing online games to be their cup of tea. Explore all options, because your children will likely do the same.

Monitor All Outlets
According to a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), many children will have a secret online presence even after parents restrict their access. So it seems that regardless of our rules, some children are finding a way to get their presence out there without our knowledge. Take control of the family computer and all other technologies to ensure children do not spend time 'online' without your knowledge.

Model Good Behaviour states: If you’re constantly on the cell or computer, your kids will want to be too. Limit your time so you can help your child strike a balance with her own use.

This goes for your own social media presence, as well. Be good, because your children are always watching. Let them see (within reason) how you share your world on social media and they'll learn from your example.

Power Down
If there is one thing all of the experts do agree on, it's that we need to power down more often. Turn your technology off, (after you read this, of course) and be present. This isn't about technology-shaming, which is a pretty regular occurrence these days, but instead, it's about being in the moment with your kids, as often as you can.